Friday, September 14, 2012

  • Could Pennsylvania Voter ID Law Help Romney Win Race? Up to 1 Million Voters Face Disenfranchisement


    With less than two months to go before the November election, we look a new voter ID law in the battleground state of Pennsylvania. Studies have shown as many as one million eligible voters in the state do not have an acceptable identification under the new law, which requires all voters to show a state driver’s license, government employee ID or a non-driver ID card issued by the state. In Philadelphia, it has been estimated that 18 percent of voters lack the proper ID. At least one Republican politician, Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Mike Turzai, has already boasted that the new voter ID law will help Mitt Romney win the state. On Thursday, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court heard arguments on whether to allow the controversial law to go into effect or to approve a preliminary injunction. For more, we speak with two guests: Vic Walczak of the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania and one of the co-counsels who argued the case, and Jessie Allen, assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. [includes rush transcript]

  • In Controversial Death Row Case, Pennsylvania Prepares to Execute Man Who Killed His Sexual Abusers


    Advocates for child victims of sexual abuse are calling on Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett to grant clemency to Terrance "Terry" Williams, who is scheduled to be executed on October 3. In 1986, Williams was convicted of killing Amos Norwood. What the jury in that case did not know is that Norwood had sexually abused Williams and had allegedly violently raped him the night before. Furthermore, Williams had suffered years of physical and sexual abuse by older males. Most recently, evidence has emerged that prosecutors tried to make robbery seem like the motive for the murder, even though Williams’ co-defendant knew about the sexual abuse. A hearing on this part of the case is set to take place today in Philadelphia. Now, as Williams’ execution is set to take place in less than a month, five of the jurors in his case have since come forward to say they believe life without parole would have been the appropriate sentence because they did not know all the facts. [includes rush transcript]

  • Pittsburgh Ban on Natural Gas Fracking Faces Challenge from State Authorities


    In 2010, Pittsburgh adopted a first-in-the-nation ordinance banning corporations from extracting natural gas within the city using the controversial technique known as hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," over human health and environmental concerns. However, state officials now say the ban on fracking fails to comply with Pennsylvania law and has encroached on the state’s authority to create environmental regulations. We speak with the man responsible for the drilling ban, former Pittsburgh City Councilmember Doug Shields. [includes rush transcript]

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